American Players Theatre
5950 Golf Course Road
P.O. Box 819
Spring Green, WI 53588
Box Office: 608-588-2361
APT's Quick Chat Series is a chance to get to know the folks around APT. This week we're excited to chat with Samantha Fromm Haddow, our star painter and dyer this year in the Costume Department! We're dishing on everything - from hiking, to finding your signature color, to designing for a ghost. Read on to find out more!
Samantha is returning to the woods for her 6th season! Samantha first joined us in 2005 and we're so glad to have her back! With an extremely impressive background of Broadway costume shops and regional theatres, Samantha brings her phenomenal skills and attitude to every new project.
APT: Hi, Samantha! Welcome back to APT! How has your season been going so far?
Samantha Fromm Haddow: Really rewarding, both as an artist and a person. I love having the shop back at a fuller capacity, there is so much more energy in the building and all around APT! And working on multiple shows at once keeps my day more interesting.
APT: You work as a painter and dyer in the costume shop; can you walk us through a typical work day in your life?
Samantha Fromm Haddow: Hmmm...typical can be hard to pin down. Usually, I’ll start by checking over the daily call to note any fittings. I’ll check in with the drapers to see if they have any deadlines or dye requests I should be aware of, and I’ll prioritize my work list based on that. My job is always very colorful and varied, but a lot of it is actually spent washing fabric, cleaning dye utensils, and waiting for paint to dry. I’ll often have 3 or 4 different projects in the works at the same time to keep the day moving.
APT: Do you have a favorite detail from something you've worked on - either from this season or past productions? If so, what sticks out to you?
Samantha Fromm Haddow: This season, by and far the cloak for the ghost of Hamlet’s Father has been my favorite. To create a dimensional effect, I needle felted 20 some faces of various sizes, all expressing some state of anguish, anger, or sadness. Needle felting involves repeatedly stabbing tufts of wool roving into a shape with a barbed needle. Essentially sculpting with wool. It was extremely cathartic and detail-oriented.
APT: As an extremely talented designer, crafts artisan, dyer, and milliner (among so many other skills), what advice would you give your younger self in developing your abilities?
Samantha Fromm Haddow: Keep playing, stay curious, keep asking questions. When I started in theatre I thought I would be a lighting designer or stage manager. But as I dabbled in other areas, I found costuming spoke to my creativity, interests, and skill sets better. And so much of what I’ve learned, particularly in costume crafts and dyeing, was by listening and observing others, trial and error, and honestly, by making a LOT of mistakes along the way. You kind of have to be fearless and realize most mistakes are stepping stones to better solutions.
APT: What are some of your passions outside of design? How do you de-stress?
Samantha Fromm Haddow: Walking and hiking. Being out in the woods or on a trail grounds me to the present moment…feeling the humidity, the ground under my feet, hearing the birds call, and taking in all of the colors. Recently I’ve become fascinated with identifying the flora and fauna I encounter. I have two dogs: a husky mix named Athena and a border collie mix named Barley who are incredibly loving, adore snuggling, and are also very high energy. I love to cook and experiment in the kitchen.
APT: If you could only wear one signature color for the rest of your life, what color are you choosing and why?
Samantha Fromm Haddow: Purple because it brings me joy, or black because of its versatility.